Preventing Problems In Your Garden.

By: Rick Skuw

Various troubles are likely to occur in your garden. That is fact. The nature of your plant is significant here, some hardy shrubs may stay trouble free all their lives, an old-fashioned Rose might be host to an assortment of pests and diseases every season. The weather is another basic factor, there will be slugs when it is wet, greenfly when it's dry, frost damage when it is cold and red spider mite when it's hot. So both expert and novice gardeners can expect problems.

The big difference is that your expert knows what to look for, takes steps to chop down the probability of pest and disease attack, and tackles trouble as soon as it appears. Garden troubles are tackled in two basic ways, culturally and chemically. One method cannot replace the other, they both have their job to do in a well-tended garden.

Pruning properly:
You have got to learn this fundamental art. It is obviously necessary for ensuring fruit and flower production, but it is also essential in a war against pests and diseases. Cut out dead wood. Remove congested branches to ensure adequate ventilation. Paint large cuts with Arbrex.

Choose wisely when buying plants:
Decline soft bulbs, lanky bedding plants, old seeds, unhealthy looking shrubs and disease-ridden perennials.

Plan carefully:
Make sure that the plant is right for the site. Avoid sun loving plants if shade is an issue - avoid tender plants if the garden is exposed and prone to frosts. Rotation of crops is also crucial for many vegetables.

Spray to prevent disease:
Fungicides tend to be protectors rather than cures. This implies you should spray as soon as the first spots are seen. In some cases (e.g black spot, peach leaf curl) you have to spray before the disease is noticed.

Remove dead plants, rubbish and weeds:
Decaying plants can often be a source of infection, some actually attract pests into your garden. Boxes, old flower pots etc are a breeding ground for slugs and woodlice. Weeds rob plants of food, water, light and space. Hoe them out or pull them out - take care if you use a weedkiller.

Guard against animals:
Use netting to protect seedlings, vegetables and soft fruit from birds. A cylinder of wire-netting around the trunk base is the best way to keep squirrels, rabbits, cats and dogs far away from the bottom of trees.

Always follow the rules of good hygiene under glass:
The humid atmosphere of a greenhouse is a paradise for pests and diseases. Control is usually difficult, so again, prevention beats cure. Use compost or sterilized soil when planting. Ensure the house is sufficiently ventilated; dry air encourages pests and poor growth, saturated air encourages diseases. Try to avoid sudden fluctuations in temperature; water regularly. Water during the morning, although you can water in the early evening if the weather is warm. Get rid of dead leaves and plants immediately.

Feeding the plants properly:
Shortages of nutrients often leads to many problems, poor growth, undersized blooms, lowered disease resistance and discolored leaves. But take care, overfeeding may cause scorch, and unbalanced feeding with too much nitrogen may end up in lots of leaves and very few flowers.

Prepare the ground painstakingly:
A strong-growing plant is more likely to resist pest or disease attack than a weak specimen. Water-logging because of not enough soil preparation is the basic cause of plant failure in heavy soils. Add a humus maker when digging. Remove perennial weed roots. Add Chlorophos to the soil if pests have gnawed roots somewhere else in the garden.

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All of my spare time is spent in my garden, but as I am getting older and things are becoming harder to do. I have decided to use a company called Landscape Gardener London. Up to now they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for. I still do a bit of pottering around my own garden when I can.

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